The horrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia this past week have captivated the national conversation. I watch as many posture to boldly denounce racism.
I join in denouncing white supremacy, the KKK, neo-Nazi’s, the Arians and their hate mongering. However, my real focus in this post is the response of the ‘church’ to their vitriol.
First, I applaud the ‘churches’ in Charlottesville who locked arms to protest and denounce the racism. I applaud those who have spoken out from their pulpits around the country. But I had to ask myself, “Why does it seem we are always reacting to these events?” Shouldn’t we be at the forefront of confronting these issues?
Think of what Jesus declared at Caesarea Philippi, “Upon this rock I will build my ekklesia, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” He further committed to giving the keys of the Kingdom to His ekklesia, and conferring the authority to declare what is lawful or unlawful on earth, based on what had already been declared as such in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:13-19). Racism is unlawful.
Throughout the Book of Acts, we see an ekklesia literally turning the world they lived in upside down (Acts 17:6). The economy of cities was disrupted (Acts 16:19-20). And demonically influenced businesses were shut down (Acts 19:24-28). The reality is, we don’t see the contemporary ‘church’ having anywhere close to the impact of the first century believers. Why is that?
I believe it is because the Believers in the first century understood they were becoming what Jesus had declared they should be – His ekklesia. Today, as a result being hi-
jacked in the fourth century and a willful 16th century mistranslation, the ekklesia Jesus said He would build became the ‘church’ instead. And no, ekklesia and church are not the same thing. The switch from ekklesia to church completely changed the trajectory of the Body of Christ. It went from impact to impotence; from power to programs; and from evangelizing to entertaining. The ‘church’ has become an institution too often focused on survival rather than souls.
Jesus said that any kingdom, city or house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25). The ’church’ as we know it is deeply divided. It is divided by denomination, by doctrine, by ideology, by what is, or is not sin, by culture and, in a country where 11 a.m. Sunday morning is considered the most segregated hour in the nation - the church is sadly divided by race. The church is divided by the very thing they are verbally fighting. Let that sink in. Can a racially divided church convince the world that racism is wrong?
"...how can you fight something that you are comfortable living with, within your own institution?"
Any one of these divisive categories has the ability to weaken the church’s capacity to impact world systems. But how can you fight something that you are comfortable
living with, within your own institution? This systemic division greatly hampers the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the earth. A divided ‘church’ has no hope against the onslaught of Hades influence.
Jesus never intended for His ekklesia (not church), to be so segmented. As long as this division exists, the ‘church’ will only be superficial in its ability to have lasting impact against the kind of evil witnessed in Charlottesville. A divided ‘church’ will not be able to reclaim our families, neighborhoods, cities, states, country and beyond.
Understand who we are. We are the ekklesia. That is what Jesus declared He would build. We were purchased by His blood (Acts 20:28). We represent the pillar and ground of the truth (1Timothy 3:15). We make the wisdom of God known to principalities and powers (Ephesians 3:10). Once we thoroughly understand our mandate to bind and loose from the authority Jesus has given, He promises that the Gates of Hades will not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18).
Whereas the reactionary attempts of church unity are plausible, true effect will only be accomplished when believers embrace their true identity – the ekklesia. There will be tangible impact when ‘church’ systems lay down their religious agendas and embrace kingdom values. The forces of darkness will be compelled to retreat when the Body of Christ – the ekklesia – declares all demonic assignments to be unlawful in the earth. I believe we are fast approaching that day. Are you ready? TLK
Tim Kurtz is the founder of The Ekklesia Center developed to help believers desiring to pursue New Testament values and structure. He teaches extensively on what the impact the mistranslation of the Greek word ekklesia to the English word church has had on the Body of Christ. He has served in numerous capacities in the 'church system' including being a Pastor for over 25 years. He is the author of several books and the primary contributor to the EKKLESIAInsights Blog. Tim is also the host of Good Morning Ekklesia, broadcast live on Facebook. In these daily Study Starters he provides key information that believers can use to study ekklesia deeper. He and his wife Carolyn have been married 46 years and live in Michigan. They have two adult children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.